DRUGS have their special place within hip-hop as an industry. Paying special attention to the trips that Mac’s addiction seemed to take him on; nearly 2 years later that in-part an accidental overdose played its role in contributing towards the artists death.
Some say Mac developed as an artist whilst battling his demons, how many other musicians can you categorically say managed were able to mature their production and lyrical style as an improvement in their own mentality was clear to see?
Where did his chase for a high start, and why did every rehabilitation end in relapse? It was well-documented that touring was this man’s life, at 19 years old he booked in for 53 shows spanning a mere 6-month period. This equates to a show every 4 to 5 days; he’d then face scathing reviews across the board despite his efforts to break racially-binding trends otherwise rendering his career empty. He began experimenting with lean and weed on a daily basis, following his team’s Macadelic tour in 2012.
February of 2016, a documentary named Stopped Making Excuses was uploaded to YouTube by no other than Mac Miller himself, with the help of FADER. The documentary was produced in a way that encouraged youth-culture to push and progress themselves, break barriers and find out where your best version ends up, finding out what you can accomplish. Importantly, Mac addressed his solvent abuse head-on – breaking down each step between “just sitting inside all day” and well, “I could just be high and have a whole adventure in this world”.
This rambling mind-state was split between studio-produced albums and independent mixtapes; it is important to consider whether Mac’s mind-set was censored with the goal of success being achieved via means of positivity by labels. Faces; a mixtape launched in 2014 is one that fans consider to be his most personal and self-explanatory when exploring Miller’s struggle.
Track 1. Inside Outside.
Opening lyrics and repeated three times over; “Shoulda died already.”
Track 24. Grand Finale.
Final hook; “Let us have a grand finale, the world will be just fine without me. Cloud gotta smile on his face, it’s going down we’re going out with a bang. Are you ready for the fireworks?”
4 years later, you wouldn’t have been wrong to think Mac had beaten his addiction. His fifth studio album, Swimming, could have been produced to mark his sobriety and kicking old habits; but truth be told said habits don’t die hard, though track 5 Self Care led a harsh portrayal of reflection.
This left Mac in a limbo, a level of creativity whereby he admitted to utilising drugs to explore dimensions and limits of his work — to then be countered by OD’ing, mental-health downfall and unexpected heartbreak. It would be interesting, I think, to ask which aspect of life Mac drew lyrics from; which point in time he found it easiest to develop himself as a person and an artist. He taught us that it was okay to struggle, each path of life carries evenly-weighted positives and negatives but what sets success and failure apart is how well the negatives and failure is taken on-board.
Illustration courtesy of Joshua Ganley.
End of part four.